Duterte orders PhilHealth not to require OFWs to pay premiums
Overseas Filipino workers will no longer be required to pay premiums to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Malacañang said Monday.
The directive was issued by President Rodrigo Duterte who said OFWs should pay on a voluntary basis, his spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
Roque also said the payment of PhilHealth premium is no longer a requirement before OFWs can secure an overseas employment certificate.
PhilHealth recently issued a circular increasing the premium payments of OFWs whose monthly income ranged from P10,000 to P60,000 to 3% of their monthly salary starting this year.
The state insurer said this was stated in the Universal Health Care Law, which Duterte signed last year.
An online petition on Change.org has since been mounted to repeal the measure, given the effects of the global health crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic.
OFW groups, number around 170 all over the world, have also called for moratorium on all collections due to the pandemic.
PhilHealth, in response to the controversy, said it is up to Congress, which resumes session on Monday, to review the hike in OFW premium payments. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who authored the bill when he was a party-list lawmaker, said the part about increasing OFW premium payments was not included in his bill.
PhilHealth is a tax-exempt government corporation attached to the Department of Health (DOH) mandated to administer the National Health Insurance Program, which provides health care services to all Philippine citizens. –KBK, GMA News